Boating with your dog is a terrifically rewarding experience. The feeling of hitting the water with your best mate is pretty hard to replicate. But there are a few things to think about when boating with dogs. Dogs don’t necessarily share all of our needs; they have plenty of their own. So make sure you’ve covered all the bases when you go boating with your dog. After all, they can’t remind you if you forget something!
Is your dog riding in the trailer on your boating trip? A good trailer is key for your dog’s safety
First, let’s take a quick look at getting to the ramp. If you don’t have a ute, there’s a good chance your dog will ride in the boat trailer on the way to your next boating trip. And that’s a pretty comfortable way to travel. At least, it is if your trailer is in good condition. Keeping your boat trailer well maintained is essential if you’re going to be carrying a canine passenger. Make sure wheel bearings are in good condition, alloy components are secure, and the trailer is free from corrosion. A quick safety check will ensure your dog’s safety. It’s also essential to secure your dog for the journey and make sure there’s adequate shade.
Dog’s don’t know much about estuarine waterways: consider these things when boating with dogs
If you’re going boating in the northern reaches of Queensland, there’s a unique hazard: crocodiles. Estuarine waterways have consistent croc populations in central and north Queensland. Often, dogs are at the top of their menu. Keep your dog well away from the water, at all times. Make sure your dog doesn’t swim at the boat ramp, too. Crocs are stealth predators, and you never know when they’re near. So take care of your dog; they don’t have the same sense of water safety as us.
Dogs are good swimmers, but if you’re boating somewhere with currents, keep a close eye on them
Dogs are good swimmers. They can swim a fair distance, and stay afloat for a fair while. However, compared to humans, they’re not all that swift through the water. If you’re going for a swim with your dog on a boating trip, stick to the calm waters. Dogs aren’t well suited to swimming against currents, as their legs are only short. If swimming across currents is a necessity, try and secure your dog to you with a rope. Better still, consider leaving your dog at home for that particular trip.
Fishing hooks are a dog’s worst enemy; keep all hooks packed away when boating with dogs
Fishing hooks are big problem for dogs. Often, they only see a tasty seafood morsel; they don’t see the hook hidden within it. They also don’t always get out of the way when you’re casting a line. The result, in either case, is a nasty hook injury for your dog. So take some care, and avoid a trip to the vet. When you’re boating with your dog, always be aware of where it is, and where your hooks are. Make sure the two don’t meet!
Make sure your dog has plenty of water! Those summer boating trips can get very hot
Finally, take plenty of snacks and water! Your dog will need to eat and drink, just like you will. And in those hot summer months, boating trips and dehydration go hand in hand for you and your dog. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that your dog is drinking as often as you are. If it’s particularly hot, your dog may also need to take a quick dip if it’s safe. Some breeds of dog don’t handle the heat particularly well, and a cooling swim is a perfect remedy. But make sure the conditions are right for a swim first!